It’s great to be back with the travelling circus that is racing after the equally great experience of becoming a father. It was hardly a long-shot that a Kempton All-Weather meeting on a Monday was going to be on the quiet side so easing me back into racing mode. Having said that by the off of the first race at 2.25 there was a very respectable crowd down in the ring. Only four lined up for the Betdaq – We’re Serious About Horses Handicap. John Best’s Mossgo opened at 6/4 with Extreme Supreme the 2/1 second-in. By the off they had flip-flopped in the betting with the latter backed into 7/4 in response to a weak original jolly drifting to a bottle. The big punters if there were on course any at that point kept out of it though with no lumps in evidence. The market got it wrong though as Mossgo won with some ease.
The next, The betdaq.com £20 Free Bet Handicap boasted seven runners but once again very little of interest as far as the betting market went. That is of course unless you were on the 6/4 favourite Khusoosy who eventually won as it liked after a short tussle with 11/4 second-in Barrahri. Once again betting on course had been steady but light with no sharks in evidence, no doubt much to the relief of the rail.
Third race on the card The British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes saw all 12 of the advertised runners going to post. Betting was livelier than previous races with Above N Beyond backed from 14/1 into 10/1, Verne Castle 10/1 into 8/1 and most significantly Valko 9/2 into 3/1. The clever money, the source appearing to be a mustachioed punter having bottle (£200) bets all along the rail just under the radar, was for the latter who hosed in landing the gamble. Three races down and the week was shaping up to be a bad one for the bookmakers.
Give them their due the bookmakers got their heads down and straight back to work betting on the next, the Download The Betdaq App Nursery. There was only one defection leaving nine runners. Premier Currency opened the fairly warm 5/4 jolly but was allowed to ease only slightly to 11/8 at the off but it didn’t stop it winning compounding the misery for the layers.
The race before the penultimate, the betdaq.com 50% Commission Refund Maiden Stakes saw Every Instinct backed from 11/10 to 4/5 though £330 – £300 the biggest bet done at the price, in fact as far as I know in the race. But there must have been some depth to those little bets because 25/1 chance Hell Yeah had the bookies shouting words to that effect when winning the race. At least two firms declared that they were ‘out’ on the day. One bookie at least had a payout though, a racecourse regular making his Kempton debut had backed the winner. Admittedly to modest stakes but as the old sages say, you don’t need much on at those prices. I did make the schoolboy error of asking the triumphant punter how he managed to pick it. Let’s just say I didn’t get a CSE in maths so those equations and ratings figures that appeared to be in hieroglyphics certainly left me none wiser, but well done Jack.
The penultimate betdaq.com 50 And 100 Games Bonuses Handicap looked competitive on paper but proved far from it. Knight Music was backed from an opening 16/5 (yes correct – come racing, better than 3/1) into 11/4f and won by 11 lengths easing down. That was of course very nasty for the bookies and put them right back into the red again. Once again there was no ‘big’ money in evidence but plenty of £100 bets according to one firm, which is better than a load of shrapnel followed by someone asking for untold bundles on.
If the bookies were going to enjoy more than a fish supper for their efforts they needed a result in the concluding 14-runner Jockey Club Catering Handicap. Once again business was brisk but included no bets of any substance. Apart from that is the bookie that laid a bet of £50 in pound coins. I couldn’t quite hear what the horse was but I’m guessing it wasn’t the 12/1 winner Gavarnie Encore. At least those coins would ensure the hod felt reassuringly full on the way home . Jack was on the 12/1 runner-up Deftera Lad who he assures me would have won had it not been for bad luck in running. The 5/2 jolly Culloden finished nearer last than first but will not see doubt be back to battle another day.
We’ll all be back tomorrow. Looking over Jack’s shoulder for winners no doubt, Kempton’s easy!
(c) Simon Nott
My book ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ is a book about the bookies, punters and other wonderful characters I have met in my time on racecourses. There have been some nice reviews.
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